The PR industry lacks diversity, and people with ethnic minority backgrounds are, unfortunately, often underrepresented.
The consumer market is continuously being split into smaller detailed segments, so it's critical to have a team to match it. Not only does this influence advancement within the company, it also offers a range of multiple perspectives and a breeding ground for creativity. I'm sure we all could use more of that.
It's no secret that consumers feel more comfortable with the brands they can identify with, but their buying power appears to go unnoticed. Last year, Hispanics had an estimated buying power of $1 trillion and African Americans had a buying power of $836 billion. To better understand how to reach those markets, why not hire someone who understands them?
Now, I'm not suggesting that simply having a person of color on your team will magically yield results. I'm saying that there are countless mid-to-senior-level qualified professionals out there with different cultural backgrounds who deserve to be on your team and can offer useful insight. However, when you look in the office, they just aren't there. That's worth paying attention to. So, constructing a “dream team,” would bring benefits all around.
You can start recruiting for your team by tapping into high-density universities and reaching out to minority professional organizations. As former president of the Black Public Relations Society of California, I have met several qualified professionals itching to get into the industry. Howard, CSU Dominguez Hills, and UC Berkley are just a few of the many colleges that have a diverse population and a strong mass communications program. Inevitably, our consumers are changing, so our teams should reflect that.
Kim Hunter is president and CEO of Lagrant Communications.